Issues & Stances

Protect our Drinking Water

Against contamination from chemicals like PFAS

You may or may not have heard of the acronym PFAS, but you will soon. PFAS is used in household products, furniture, and in equipment that firefighters use. It is used in firefighting foams and firefighting gear. So why is it so important now?

Studies have shown that PFAS harms our bodies and could be directly linked to certain cancers and organ failure. PFAS has been getting into our drinking water across Wisconsin. What has been done about this?

Not much. Companies who uses PFAS in their products and test with PFAS in marshes and land around their facilities have started to contaminate our water sources. Just like with reducing mercury 'dumping' decades ago, we need to reduce PFAS 'dumping' and testing in soil.

We need regulation to hold companies accountable and to provide funding to protect our drinking water, a very basic necessity.

Alternatives to Pain Management/ Symptom Management

Legalize & Tax Cannabis (Marijuana)

Wisconsin is one of only 8 states in the United States (as of May 2020) that doesn't have any laws legalizing cannabis in some fashion. Two of our bordering states (Michigan and Illinois) have legalized cannabis recreationally and Minnesota has legalized it medicinally. We are far behind the rest of the country. I understand the opposing views to cannabis legalization but the overall view in Wisconsin has been moving towards an overwhelming favoritism towards legalization.

 

Those opposing are worried about the repercussions of legalization. I believe we can meet in the middle through harsh punishments if caught selling to minors and operating while under the influence of marijuana. We should work to decriminalize non-violent marijuana offenses which will reduce the burden on our prison system and allow individuals a chance to get their lives back. Local referendums have shown lots of support for legalization both in Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties.

Legalization can help the private sector with job creation, generate tax revenues, gives non-violent individuals their lives back to integrate with communities again, and tackles many of the mass injustices with our criminal justice system.

Farmers can benefit from the local production of marijuana.

In addition, Wisconsin is facing an opioid epidemic. There are very few low cost solutions for patients suffering from chronic pain or symptoms from disease-related illnesses. Physical therapy, alternative medicine, and chiropractic can be very helpful for pain management but aren't always enough.

Taxpayers in the US annually spend between $7.5 billion and $10 billion arresting and prosecuting individuals for marijuana violations. Nearly 90% of these arrests are for marijuana possession only.(1) We shouldn't be spending money on arresting individuals for non-violent marijuana offenses but instead we should be generating revenue from the sale of marijuana.

(1) NORML. 1997. Still Crazy After All These Years: Marijuana Prohibition 1937-1997: A report prepared by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on the occasion of the Sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Washington, DC; Federal Bureau of Investigation's combined Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States (1990-2000): Table: Arrest for Drug Abuse Violations. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.

Close 'Dark Store' Loophole

The 'dark store' loophole has plagued many counties, cities and villages across Wisconsin. Big box retailers using their corporate power to reduce their property tax burden on stores that are active and revenue producing pushing that burden on small businesses and residents. It's time that we close this loophole. This corporations should pay the just and lawful property taxes.

Many counterparts are worried that these big box retailers employ thousands in the state. I assure you, with all of the competition between large retailers, no retailers would look to move or relocate when their competitor could swoop in and gain the market share. This is an area that the state government should step in. Local municipalities don't have the resources to take on these big box corporations.

Gun Safety Programs

Banning and confiscating all guns is not an option. It's not realistic and goes against the views of most citizens. I will not support any measures to confiscate or ban the sales of firearms.

 

However, we can take measures that can help with reducing the ability for individuals who may not have the mental capacity to purchase a gun. This can be through mandatory education on Gun Safety, Gun Maintenance, and Gun Handling that would be required prior to the purchase of a firearm. We can allow for private businesses to host the safety classes with some basic curriculum guidelines to help generate revenue and jobs for the private sector.

Many gun advocates feel that these measures would create safer communities with individuals knowing how to handle their firearm properly, maintain their firearm properly (through cleaning and maintenance), and secure their firearm properly in their households to reducing the possibility of children accessing it.

Homeless Programs & Tiny Home Legislation

We need to expand Homeless programs to reduce the number of homeless individuals in Wisconsin and to provide them with programs that help them get back to making a living.

 

These programs can help to align potential workers with needed training for the workplaces in Wisconsin. There are Wisconsin manufacturing jobs that are struggling to find qualified, skilled workers to fill high-wage roles. Not only do we need to encourage students and technical college programs align their curriculum to workforce needs, but work with local manufacturers to assist with the training itself.

In addition, Wisconsin needs to look at options for 'tiny-home' communities and creating legislation. We currently have no regulations for tiny homes in Wisconsin or guidelines on tiny-homes. Tiny-home communities can help with providing a sense of community and prevent more 'tent cities' from popping up. It's best to get ahead of any movement versus having no regulation at all.

Lower Property Taxes through Alternative Funding Options

Although the Average Gross Property Tax Rate has stayed consistent for the last 20 years, the perceived valued of homes has risen. This may seem great to have a higher home value, but if you're not selling your home or don't plan to sell your home soon, what benefit does this provide if your actualized property tax increase year over year. We need to find ways to reduce the amount paid out of pocket for property taxes. This would not include reducing the tax rate or home assessed values.

 

If Wisconsin has a budget surplus, why aren't our property taxes decreasing or our schools being funded with the surplus those offsetting the dollars owed those actualized property taxes. If property taxes don't decrease, we may not see the same increase in population from residents moving to Wisconsin due to the cost of living. Residents are fleeing neighboring states due to the cost, but once it's not beneficial to move to Wisconsin, this influx will stop.

We need to utilize this surplus effectively and strategically along with other strategies to help lower property taxes for residential homes.

Make Fire and EMS Education Programs Free

Like 39 other states in the United States, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Services are considered a non-essential service and aren't required to be funded by communities. Most citizens believe that their property taxes pay for this service and some communities they have chosen to fund it that way. However, in most communities, your EMS service is run by volunteers being paid only per call or on call, not anywhere close to a living wage.

These are educated First Responders of all levels who are normally the first on scene, the ones to save a life, and are trying to survive through pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinner fundraisers. Those who work for the service are trying to find ways to support their families on a below minimum wage, normally working 2 to 3 jobs just to provide. In addition, many EMS & Fire providers find themselves paying for their state-required continuing education and equipment, just to volunteer.

 

Currently, Wisconsin considers police and garbage services essential.

Fund Educational Programs for Development

Education is by far one of the most important systems in our state. Investing in the future education of our children will always be one of my highest priorities. We need to educate early on better health strategies to work to improve our state's overall health of our citizens. Our children are our future and we need to invest in them.

Advance through Agreement

Unlike some legislators, I believe in finding a place to agree on issues. Many stick to party lines without ever trying to come to a level of agreement with other legislators. My views are never extreme in either direction and believe that common sense can bring us towards advancing Wisconsin. I'm not afraid to find common ground and work with both parties. I'm here to get things done. To advance and grow as a community.

ALAN DeYOUNG

- FOR STATE ASSEMBLY -

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© 2020 by DeYoung for Assembly District 83

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